Tag Archives: Conversation

How to make farewell conversations more meaningful

Spending time with family over the holiday season can be a joyful reminder of just how much we cherish our conversations with loved ones. Whether it is sharing a meal with a sibling who lives in another city or enjoying quality time with a parent, we all seek these often fleeting opportunities to express ourselves to a loved one in a meaningful way.

What we can take for granted though, is that there will come a time when the ability to connect with family members is taken away from us without warning. That is why many experts tell us to have these important conversations while we are still able.

Bruce Feiler confronted this issue in a recent article in the New York Times entitled, “Exit Lines.”

Feiler writes,

Shelly Kagan, a philosopher at Yale and the author of ‘Death,’ said the odds are so ‘vanishingly small’ that you’ll know when you’re in a final conversation, you should avoid any possibility of regret by initiating interactions earlier. This includes what kind of medical interventions the person might want as well as what that person meant to you…

‘One of the things you can accomplish in these conversations is telling people broadly what it is they’ve done for you. What they taught you. Having an appreciation of that can deepen one’s sense of a life well-lived…’

When his own mother died, Dr. Kagan said, she was not in a position to have a conversation at the end. Later, her children found a letter she had written to them, along with one to her grandchildren, expressing her hopes for their lives. It was her way of having a meaningful conversation while her mind was still strong, Dr. Kagan said…

Dr. Kagan said there is considerable evidence that forcing ourselves to say things out loud helps us clarify thoughts that might otherwise be unformed. ‘It’s a richer experience when the receiving party is able to react,’ he said. ‘But even if they’re not, the vocalization can help in that you now have thoughts you wouldn’t have had anyway.’

People who have lost loved ones suddenly can attest to the power of that ‘final conversation,’ especially when faced with the despair of missing the chance to have that conversation.

Being proactive about recording a message either in writing or on video is significant because it allows you the security of knowing your voice will be heard. And maybe even more importantly, it ensures that your loved ones will never be in the helpless position of not knowing how you really felt.

MyDirectives continues to encourage individuals to record video messages because that is the most effective way of knowing that your voice will be heard if you are no longer able to communicate.

Have you taken steps to leave a message for your loved ones or have you received a message from a friend or family member? Share your story using the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.


We’ve launched the I Decide pledge – empowering you to protect your voice in a medical crisis, even when you can’t communicate.  Already more than 5,000 of you from around the world have signed the pledge.

Here’s what some of you had to say about why signing the I Decide pledge is important to you:

Why doesn’t my health insurance company help ME by making me get one of these? Maybe they make more money if I don’t have one?

–        Mark D. from Boston

Because it’s important that one’s wishes with regard to medical care are carried out if one can’t speak for themselves and/or a representative for the patient can’t be reached. It happened to me!

–        Jo Alice B. from Dallas

Pour moi, pour ma famille, pour mon pays.
(For me, for my family, for my country.)

–        Olivier C. from France

Sign the pledge today and tell us why you did by joining the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Already signed? Help us spread the word by telling your friends and family about the pledge and by joining our gaggle.

Obamacare? Romneycare? I care.

There’s no ‘I’ team and there’s no “I” in Obamacare or Romneycare.

We’ve heard a lot about both over the past two years, but nowhere in the national debate were our voices – the voices of the patients.

Which is why we’re launching a new campaign today – a campaign to empower you to save your voice, to say “I care. And I decide.”

Join the campaign by signing the pledge:

With only days to go before the election, I pledge:

  1. To talk to my family, friends, doctors and caregivers about what I want if I have a medical emergency.
  2. To document my thoughts using MyDirectives.com – to make sure my directives are available 24/7, anywhere.
  3. To think about this on Election Day: which candidates have recognized that I decide.

Sign the pledge here. After you sign it, help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

More Serious Talk on TV

A few weeks ago we recapped some of our favorite shows talking about advance medical directives and living wills from last television season. We’re only a couple weeks into the new season and already two shows have broached the “what happens if…” conversation.

This week on Private Practice, the sudden death of one of the characters prompted conversation among the rest of the doctors about what they would want and who would take care of their children. See how the conversation started:

And last week, on the premiere of Gray’s Anatomy, the doctors had to deal with the aftermath of a plane crash that at the end of last season killed one of their own and left another in a coma. The episode picked up a month after the accident as they had to carry out the directive of their close friend. Watch how they handled it here:

Have you caught any other shows we should be watching? And what about in real life – have you talked to your family and friends about your wishes? How’d the conversation go? If you haven’t yet, what’s keeping you from talking?  Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Crossposted from MyDirectives.com

Keeping your voice heard after the Supreme Court decision

By now you’ve probably seen the front page of your newspaper (or heard the radio, TV or chatted with your neighbor) that yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act – what some fondly and others not-so-fondly call “Obamacare.”

The passion – from those on all sides of the debate – we saw on the steps of the
Court yesterday shows how deeply concerned Americans are about their health. Regardless of where you are on the issue, making sure your voice is heard at ALL stages of your care, especially when you can’t clearly speak for yourself, is important.

This is where advance medical directives come in. An advance medical directive is a document that allows you to give instructions about future medical treatment preferences in case you become unable to make decisions on your own behalf or can’t communicate your wishes.  In case your instructions don’t account for every scenario, you are also able to name a person(s) to make decisions for you.

Creating your directive and starting the conversation now, today, is important. Nobody wants the guilt of having to make a decision for a loved one without knowing what he/she wants.  And the days of thinking this is just an issue for the elderly and frail are long gone… as new parents have a baby to protect, caregivers need to ensure they’ve kept their promises, our military should be comforted knowing their wishes can be found in an emergency and our veterans should have confidence their wishes can be found at any time.

Where ever you are in life, it’s important to make sure your wishes are heard.

Crossposted from MyDirectives.com